Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dos Salsas We Love in 2014



First up (above three photos) is a nut and chile salsa adapted from an original Marcela Valladolid recipe employing pecans. Cafe Drake HRV substituted sunflower seeds supplemented with a teaspoon of sugar to mimic the natural sweetness of pecans and we're thrilled with the results. May we present Sunflower & Chile de Arbol Salsa. Try it with roasted chicken or grilled steaks or just as an all-purpose table condiment. We just tossed it last night with steamed vegetables! Begin by heating a heavy skillet - iron, preferred - over a medium high flame. Add 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds; if you have toasted seeds, skip this step and salt accordingly. Toss the seeds around the skillet almost constantly for 3 minutes or less, just until they begin to brown and release a nutty aroma. Transfer immediately to a plate and cool slightly. Now add 4-6 dried chile de arbols to the hot pan, along with 1 whole and peeled clove of garlic. Toast until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes, taking care to not burn. A little char is acceptable but err on the side of caution when judging this. Place all the ingredients in  blender with 1 1/2 cups of water and process until smooth. Pour in a bowl and now season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Roasted Apple Salsa with Tomatilloes Again, from the creative kitchen of Marcela, a sweet and tart salsa full of unexpected and piquant flavors. Divine with pork prepared in any manner, this salsa is also our new "go-to" dipping partner for tortilla chips at Cafe Drake HRV. You'll need a large baking sheet for this or two smaller ones. Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Cut 1 lb. of tomatilloes (husked and rinsed) into halves and place on baking sheet along with 1/2 onion (roughly chopped into large pieces), 3 green apples (cored, quartered, unpeeled), 3 cloves of garlic (whole) and 1-2 jalapeno chilies (each sliced in half). Toss well with 2 T. olive oil and salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven for at least 20 minutes or until the tomatilloes soften and burst when pressed. Cool for a bit then blend to a smooth consistency in a blender or food processor. Check for salt and if desired, add up to 1 T. sugar to counteract the tomatilloes' acidity. Serve cold or just below room temperature.

Both salsas above, enjoyed with cabbage salad, stewed lentils and warmed tortillas.

Sunflower Seed & Chile de Arbol Salsa

Roasted Apple & Tomatillo Salsa (did we mention it's insane with grilled cheese sandwiches)?


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